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The Second Year

The First Small War -- The Province of Ceantyre

July 29, 1967

From Tournaments Illuminated, Issue 2.1 (July 21, 1967):

The Small War announced in Tournaments Illuminated #2 (June 1967) will take place on an island in Nicasio Reservoir (Marin County) on Saturday, July 29th, from 11 a.m. till sunset. The island is joined to the mainland and the road by a land bridge. All fighters and spectators are welcome. Fighters under 21 must get permission from their parents or guardians (use the enclosed waiver) and bring it with them -- intending fighters under 16, in addition, are requested to get in touch with the Society at .... prior to Saturday. In no case will fighters under 14 be allowed; also, children under 14 should not be brought by spectators.

Spectators and fighters are warned that they must bring all food and water with them -- there is no water on the island. In addition, there is little shade for spectators, and no fires may be built on the island, nor may living plants be cut. Spectators may wish to bring binaculars or telescopes -- the island is about 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 miles in size.

FIGHTERS: Due to the number of fighters coming, the Society cannot supply weapons, helms, etc., nor will you be able to count on using Society gear. Hence, please make every effort to bring your own gear. Choose well your weapons and gear; you'll be carrying them all day.

Fighters should be on the island by 10 a.m. at the latest. At that time, the rules will be fully explained, sides will be chosen (by lot), and the base encampments set up. The war will start at 11 a.m.

Remember that no timepieces, binoculars or telescopes may be borne by the fighters; weapons also are limited to pre-gunpowder. Following is a brief list of the rules (to be explained more fully on Saturday), the Waiver, and a map to get to the island.

Be sure to bring your own food and water; good luck!


  1. There will be three judges; one at each base camp and one roving judge. On any matter for which they, together, or severally, give a decision, that decision is final.

    Any safe weapons approved by the judges may be used. Bows must be less than 15 pounds pull with will-padded arrows less than two feet in length. Javellins must be less than four feet in length Water balloons may be used as rocks, etc.

    Signalling devices pre-gunpowder may be used other than horns. Horns are reserved for the three judges, who will sound the (15 minute) time periods by three horn blasts every fifteen minutes.

    Materials for weapons (such as a catapult, for instance) may be brought and constructed on the island; however, no cutting of live plant life.

    Each team member must wear a team tag and a coloured 'flag,' which will be supplied at the island by the Autocrat.

    If a man is killed, his opponent may take his offensive weapons and his team tag; the dead man then goes to the graveyard. He may be reclaimed by his side when they kill or capture a man of the other side who has one of their team tags from someone he killed.

    A dead man on his way to graveyard must carry his flag in hand and may not speak to anyone.

    Wounds sustained in combat will last 2 time periods on the field or 1 in the base encampment.

    A captured man may be held for ransom. If after two time periods he has not been ransomed by his side (for people, land, advantage or whatever), his allegience switches to the other side automatically.

    Kills will be determined in the main by the fighters themselves -- be honest. The judges will be there to settle major disputs, but they cannot be everywhere.

    At any time, the roving judge has the power of equal reincarnation: he may free one man from each side from graveyard.

    A fighter on a mission of honour (as to reclaim a teammate from graveyard) must lay his weapons down and carry his flag in hand and his shield above his head.

    A fighter on a mission of honour may not be attacked until he has returned to and reclaimed his weapons. Nor may his weapons be taken in his absence. However, any fighter who behaves dishonourably or, while on a mission of honour behaves less than hourably shall be declared outlaw and will be fair game for both sides. (This will be explained fully at the war; it's not quite so bad as it sounds.)

    All fighters must be acceptable to the judges.

One final note for spectators: there is little cover on the island, so you might wish to bring beach umbrellas or some such thing.

ALl fighters under 21 remember to get the waiver signed and bring it with you.

All persons will be signed on and off the island to guard against leaving someone there inadverdently.

From The History (by Wilhelm):

Held on an island in the Nicasio Reservoir, Marin County, California. Sir Henrik of Havn was the autocrat. Several fighters and various bystanders showed up. After an initial sally at a large rock, it was decided to divide the twenty odd people into teams, and kidnap a beautiful maiden. The beautiful maiden was Lady Dorothea of Paravel (Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin), and she was kidnaped by Sir Henrik the Dane (Henrik of Havn) and his men. There were several small battles, culminating in a magnificent stand atop a huge shale rock, where Dwayanu (Siegfried von Hoflichskeit) and the lady Dorothea made a lover’s pact and Richard the Short (Richard of Mont Real) was foully cheated of his just deserts.

“Dwayanu, by the way, is Siegfried von Hoflichskeit attempting another name that would be marginally more pronounceable. Siegfried was too firmly entrenched, however.
     “The final confrontation was rather spectacular, I am told (by Siegfried shortly after the event, as a matter of fact – I didn't go). He and Dorothea had decided that they were doomed lovers being pursued by the evil Richard. Richard, on the other hand, was of the opinion he was the valiant rescuer of the fair maiden. The rock had two methods of access. One was a tricky path going up one sloping side. The other was a series of handholds going up the sheer back of the rock. Siegfried stood at the top of the path, downing attackers as they tried to assail him single file. Then Dorothea screamed. Richard had climbed up the backside of the rock. Seeing his doom before him, Siegfried scrambled to interpose himself between Richard and Dorothea, and gently swung his sword back to touch the fair maiden (thus "killing" Dorothea) while Richard cut him down. I am told that Richard was really upset that they weren't following his idea of the situation. But then, I'm sure there have been any number of real life similar situations where the participants had similar two different ideas of what was going on.

Henrik's Representation of "The Rock"

     “I believe this war included one of the first attempts at combat archery, but am not sure. Perhaps Countess Astrid can enlighten us, as I recall hearing she did in her father in the first fight at The Rock.” – Stefan de Lorraine, who has many recollections of the Second War at the Reservoir -- we're getting to that ...

“Yes - 14 inch long arrows.” – Henrik of Havn
“First War: Well, now, perhaps I'm confusing two events, because I don't remember there being two, just one. But I do recall the arrows, which used bows with about a five pound pull. And it was very sunny and hot. I recall Siegfried abducting Dorothea (or perhaps they were escaping the Evil Richard?). Siegfried's cloak at that time was dark green lined with mustard yellow, which blended perfectly with the dried grass and scrub oak on the island, so they used that for camouflage at one point. I have a recollection that Dorothea wrote up a fictionalized version of the events which she may still have in her files.” – Astrid of Hawk Ridge

From an email, October 3, 2004:
"... it is worth recording that Diana Listmaker composed a song, "Lady Dorothea's Lament." -- Siegfried von Hoflichskeit

Description of this event, © Copyright 1980 by William R. Keyes (Wilhelm von Schlüssel)
This is from The History of the West Kingdom, Volume 1 (the only volume produced). When reading this text, please keep in mind the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This history may have errors in it, as much of the detail is “remembered” history, or as one of the cover pages of the original type-written manuscript states “The material within is derived from the information printed in The Crown Prints and in The Page, and from the memories of the participants.” The original document was typed on onion-skin paper, with hand-written notes (often in the margins). All attempts have been made to reconcile the notes with the original document.

Annotations, when they are added, are from The Annotated History of the West, Volume 1, which is the same text as Master Wilhelm's mentioned above, with commentary from members of the SCA who were active at the time of the event, and are added to help clarify questions and expand on what happened and why. This volume is copyright © Ken Mayer (Hirsch von Henford).

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).